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31st January

 Offsite Video: How Dare You!...

Link Here
stephen fry on god video Stephen Fry has a few choice words about God when asked by Irish TV about what he will say at the Pearly Gates

See video from YouTube

 

29th January

  In the Face of Threats...

Facebook censors images of Mohammed in Turkey
Link Here
Facebook logo Facebook has agreed to censor pages showing images of the religious character Mohammed in Turkey despite Mark Zuckerberg giving his support to freedom of speech proclaiming Je Suis Charlie .

A court in the Turkish capital, Ankara, ruled that several Facebook pages were deemed to be insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Facebook agreed to block access on January 25. The court had threatened that if the ruling was not adhered to, Facebook access would be wholly removed in the country.

The company's decision comes after Mark Zuckerberg said on Facebook that the site followed the laws of the country but we never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world . The billionaire added:

I'm committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear or violence... #JeSuisCharlie. Related Articles

 

28th January

  A Twisted Definition of Tolerance...

Jewish leaders in a disgraceful call for censorship and a European blasphemy law, subtly hiding it behind a ban on reprehensible cultural practices
Link Here
european council on tolerance and reconciliation logo European Jewish leaders, backed by  former EU heads of state and government, are calling for pan-European legislation outlawing antisemitism and criticism of religion.

A panel of four international jewish leaders backed by the misleadingly named European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) have spent three years drafting a 12-page document on 'tolerance' . They are lobbying to have it converted into law in the 28 countries of the EU.

The proposal would outlaw antisemitism as well as criminalising a host of other activities of what the group deems to be violating fundamental rights on religious, cultural, ethnic and gender grounds.

The group head the list with some justifiable prohibitions, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, polygamy, but then slip in extensive censorship and blasphemy items, eg criminalising xenophobia, and creating a new crime of group libel , ie public defamation of ethnic, cultural or religious groups. Then to try and generate a little support, the group extends the list to include women's and gay rights.

The proposed legislation would also curb freedom of expression on grounds of a bizarre definition of 'tolerance'. The document twists the meaning of tolerance to try and justify the end to the right of freedom of expression:

Tolerance is a two-way street. Members of a group who wish to benefit from tolerance must show it to society at large, as well as to members of other groups and to dissidents or other members of their own group.

There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant. This is especially important as far as freedom of expression is concerned: that freedom must not be abused to defame other groups.

But the document goes much further, calling for the criminalisation of overt approval of a totalitarian ideology, xenophobia or antisemitism.

Education in tolerance should be mandatory from primary school to university, and for the military and the police, while public broadcasting must devote a prescribed percentage of their programmes to promoting a climate of 'tolerance' .

The panel was chaired by Yoram Dinstein, a war crimes expert, professor and former president of Tel Aviv university.

The drafters are currently touring the parliaments of Europe trying to drum up support.

 

28th January

  Sniping...

Arab American campaigners unhappy with the Hollywood film, American Sniper
Link Here
American Sniper DVD UltraViolet American Sniper is a 2014 USA action biography by Clint Eastwood.
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and Kyle Gallner. Youtube link IMDb

A Navy S.E.A.L. recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills.

A group calling itself the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has written to director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper claiming an increase in threats against US muslims. The ADC said:

A majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper.

The group said it had collected hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers , mainly from Facebook and Twitter.

The letter asked Eastwood and Cooper to speak out against such messages in an effort to reduce the hateful rhetoric .

 

27th January

 Update: Quality Nonsense...

Rajan Zed professionally offended by ginger beer label
Link Here  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
brookvale union ginger beer A religious activist group says it plans to complain to Australia's advertising watchdog about a brewer that is using images of Hindu gods on its ginger beer bottle labels.

Aussie firm Brookvale Union, which uses the slogan Quality nonsense , apologised to Hindus offended by the labelling after receiving complaints in 2013, but the Universal Society of Hinduism has issued a new public complaint that the offending bottles are still on sale.

The bottles, which feature Hindu deities Ganesh and Lakshmi, carry the slogan Spicy yet mild, dry but wet, smooth yet sharp, tight but loose .

The group also says that the company has not removed the supposedly objectionable images from its website, which it had said it would when the issue was first raised two years ago.

The Universal Society of Hinduism's president Rajan Zed called on Brookvale Union to recall all the soft drink bottles carrying the images from the market, and show some responsibility, respect and maturity and understand the hurt feelings of Hindu community by saying sorry again. The free speech hating Zed spouted:

Hindus are for free expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more ...BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it tormented the devotees.

Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda is not okay as it hurts the devotees. Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are highly revered in Hinduism and they are meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.

 

26th January

  Lest it 'offends' the terrorists...

Don't call a terrorist a terrorist. A fascinating lesson in BBC political correctness and news reporting.
Link Here
bbc news logo The Islamists who committed the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris should be not be described as terrorists by the BBC, a senior executive at the corporation has said.

Tarik Kafala, the head of BBC Arabic, said the term terrorist was too loaded to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the attack on the French satirical magazine. Kafala told The Independent :

We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist. What we try to do is to say that 'two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine'. That's enough, we know what that means and what it is.

Terrorism is such a loaded word. The UN has been struggling for more than a decade to define the word and they can't. It is very difficult to. We know what political violence is, we know what murder, bombings and shootings are and we describe them. That's much more revealing, we believe, than using a word like terrorist which people will see as value-laden.

Kafala's are in line with the BBC's editorial guidelines on reporting terrorism. The guidelines state:

[The BBC] does not ban the use of the word. However, we do ask that careful thought is given to its use by a BBC voice. There are ways of conveying the full horror and human consequences of acts of terror without using the word 'terrorist' to describe the perpetrators.

The value judgements frequently implicit in the use of the words 'terrorist' or 'terrorist group' can create inconsistency in their use or, to audiences, raise doubts about our impartiality. It may be better to talk about an apparent act of terror or terrorism than label individuals or a group.

When reporting an attack, the BBC guidelines say it should use words which specifically describe the perpetrator such as bomber , attacker , gunman , kidnapper or militant .

[But such obvious avoidance of attributing terrorists to causes does little except emphasise that the BBC is providing a propaganda slant on the news. It just comes across as politically correct double speak].

 

25th January

  Best Kept Archived...

Fear of muslim violence leads V and A museum to disclaim possessing images of Mohammed
Link Here
v and a logo The Victoria and Albert museum has attempted to conceal its ownership of a devotional image of the religious character Muhammad, citing security concerns, in what is part of a wider pattern of apparent self-censorship by British institutions that scholars fear could undermine public understanding of Islamic art and the diversity of Muslim traditions .

Similar images have been shown in exhibitions across Europe and America without prompting outrage, much less protests or a violent response.

British museums and libraries hold dozens of these images, mostly miniatures in manuscripts several centuries old, but they have been kept largely out of public view. Fear of displaying them is apparently driven by controversy about satirical or offensive portraits of Muhammad by non-Muslims, despite the huge difference in form and purpose.

When the V&A was asked if it held any images of Muhammad after the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo , it said there were none. A US expert later provided a link to a poster in its collection, with the inscription Mohammad the Prophet of God . That page in the database was deleted last week, but can still be found in a cached version. A spokeswoman said their original response was an honest error .

Other British institutions with images of Muhammad in their Islamic art collections show some on websites, but have shied away from exhibitions.

 

25th January

 Updated: Supporting Violent Censorship...

International events to support the censorship of Charlie hebdo
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

Niger flag Niger

18th January 2015. See  article from  theguardian.com

At least five people died when rioters burned churches and cars and attacked French-linked businesses across Niger on Saturday, in violent protests against the publication of a cartoon of Muhammad on the cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

President Mahamadou Issoufou said all five of the dead were civilians, with four of them killed inside burned churches or bars.

Ten people have died in two days of violence across the west African nation. Five died and 45 were injured in clashes on Friday in Niger's second largest city, Zinder, where a French cultural centre and cafe were also hit.

mardom-e-emrooz george clooney Iran

18th January 2015. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

An Iranian newspaper has been shut down after the country's authorities accused its front page headline of supporting the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The article's headline quoted Hollywood actor, George Clooney, saying: I am Charlie Hebdo.

But the accompanying article did not actually express support for Clooney's statement, nor for the magazine itself.

The editor of Mardom-e-Emrooz - or Today's People - confirmed his paper was ordered to close for publishing the story.

Clooney was one of many actors to arrive at the Golden Globe awards to wear Je Suis Charlie pins.

France flag France

18th January 2015. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Numerous French media websites have been momentarily taken down by hackers.

The sites of Le Parisien, Marianne and 20 Minutes were among those affected, although most were soon restored. The French government said some 20,000 sites had been targeted.

On Thursday, the head of cyber security for the French military, Vice Admiral Arnaud Coustilliere, said that structured groups and well known Islamist hackers were behind the attacks against the 20,000 sites, but did not elaborate.

cumhuriyet Turkey

18th January 2015. See  article from  ft.com

Turkey's prime minister has accused Turkish newspapers of sedition for publishing a controversial cartoon of Mohammed.

Ahmet Davutoglu made his comments a day after Cumhuriyet, a secularist newspaper, republished the cartoon and other extracts from Charlie Hebdo. Davutoglu  said:

The freedom of the press does not mean the freedom to insult, above all if this is against our Prophet. Printing the cartoon is heavy sedition.

Later in the day Turkish prosecutors opened an investigation into Cumhuriyet's publishing excerpts from Charlie Hebdo, in response to complaints that the paper had incited hatred.

Russia flag Update: Russia

19th January 2015. See  article from  uk.reuters.com

Russian Muslims rally against depiction's of Mohammad. Authorities say some 15 to 20 thousand people gathered at the rally in the city of Mahgas in the North Caucasus. The rally concluded peacefully but nevertheless it was still an implcit show of support for murderers.

 

Update: Australia

25th January 2015. See  article from  independent.co.uk and  article from  theguardian.com

Australia flag About 800 muslims rallied in Sydney to protest against the justifiably negative media coverage of Islam and French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's depictions of Mohammed.

Police said 14 people were told to move on from the rally for breaching the peace. But no one was charged and the event was calm with a huge group of demonstrators praying on the street.

Some of the 800-strong demonstrators in the Lakemba suburb -- which has a large population of Lebanese Australians -- held up placards with the slogan Je suis Muslim. Other protesters held up signs saying insult to one prophet is an insult to all prophets.

Earlier Australia's prime minister, Tony Abbott, had told the protestors to lighten up . Abbott said on radio that  he hoped there would be only a few protesters:

Frankly I don't think any of us really want to be in the business of insulting anyone, but on the other hand we all believe in free speech, and I have to say some people are a bit thin-skinned about free speech.

I just hope the organisers of this protest lighten up a bit, and accept that in our robust democracy, a lot of people say a lot of things, and sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong, and we just have to accept the rough and the smooth together.

Update: Palestine and Senegal

25th January 2015.

'Thousands' of Palestinians rallied in the occupied West Bankto protest against the publication of cartoons depicting Mohammad. Simultaneous demonstrations were held in the cities of Ramallah and Hebron.

Around 1,500 people including the prime minister marchedin Senegal against caricatures of Mohammed. Premier Mohammed Dionne was joined at the demonstration in Dakar by cabinet colleagues, civil society activists, lawmakers, religious leaders and hundreds of members of the public. I'm not Charlie -- I am a Muslim , Freedom of expression is not the freedom to insult , Do not touch my prophet read placards brandished by demonstrators.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

28th January 2015.  See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Pakistan flag Tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets in Pakistan in anger at the Mohammed cartoons published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The largest rally was held in Karachi, where 25,000 people shouted slogans including death to France , death to the blasphemers and (We are) ready to sacrifice life for Prophet Mohammed .

Speaking at the Karachi protest, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's main Islamic Party, demanded Pakistan call a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group of Muslim countries. He urged the United Nations to curb the menace of blasphemy through changes to international law.

 

25th January

 Updated: Gandhi-Bot...

US beer makers apologise over using Gandhi's image on a beer can.
Link Here  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
gandhi boy beer New England Brewing Company, a Connecticut based craft beer company, has apologized for a Gandhi-themed brew but has not said if it plans to recall the product.

The brewer's website describes the beer as:

Gandhi-bot is an intensely-hopped double India pale ale. The beer is aromatic and fully vegetarian and an ideal choice those looking to self purify and seek out truth and love.

The packaging depicts an animated, robot-stylized Gandhi-like figure, holding his hand up in a blessing pose.

Rajan Zed, a perennial Hindu whinger, condemned the product and stated that Mahatma Gandhi abhorred drinking and trying to sell a beer named after the icon is highly damaging to his legacy.

A petition was recently filed in Hyderabad that branded the beer's offensive image as punishable under Indian law.

Matt Westfall, the head brewer apologized via a statement to the Press Trust of India news agency:

We do apologize if the good people of India find our Gandhi-Bot label offensive. Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a great man who we respect greatly.

However, the company has made no indication that it plans to remove the beer from its line-up.

Update: Gandhi-Bot canned

25th January 2015.See  article from  newkerala.com

A US brewery will be rebranding their beer, which uses Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi's name and image, after easily offended Indians expressed their 'outrage' calling the act condemnable.   The New England Brewing Company's Gandhi-Bot India pale ale features a cartoon image depicting a robot version of the Gandhi.

The brewer was sued by a lawyer in southern India, after which they apologized and said in a statement:

After careful consideration we feel that renaming Gandhi-Bot is the right move. Taking these steps will allow us to express our support for the Indian-American community while also limiting any economic losses.

The beer, which had been distributed for about 5 years, was being promoted on as fully vegetarian and an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love .